LaCie USB Drive Problem

While living in Honolulu I purchased a LaCie d2 Dual DVD + or - RW drive. It played Region 1 movies perfectly. Upon relocating to Australia it continued to work on Region 1 DVDs.

I hired some local DVDs which are Region 4 and the device asked if I wanted to change to Region 4. As this was the first time to swap regions I said yes. At that point the drive froze and has refused to work ever since. Turning it on just gives a continuous green light on the front and even the open button doesn’t work. I had to use the manual opening method to retrieve the DVD to return it to the rental shop.

LaCie’s Australian agent said no local warranty and it is not worth repairing. Freight makes it too expensive to return to USA for repair, so I am wondering if anyone has any idea of what I can do with it, apart from throwing it away. Any idea of how to eliminate the Region circuitry, for example? Seems a shame to throw out a perfectly good DVD drive that is being ruined by the stupid Region encoding system